Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 6 to 8
- Grade: 1 to 3
Jada Jones is back for the sixth book of this popular, celebrated series perfect for STEM fans!
"Readers who love Ivy and Bean or Katie Woo will want to meet Jada Jones." --School Library Journal
Jada is thrilled when she gets to go on an outdoor class field trip with her Pop Pop, a nature lover, as a chaperone. She can't wait to show him off to her friends--and show him what she knows. But the trip has some twists along the way, including a soaring zip line she's not sure she wants to try. What happens when Jada's shining moment starts to lose its luster?
Praise for Jada Jones: Rock Star
"Fast-paced, with supersimple vocabulary and a smattering of earth science to spark interest in young rock collectors everywhere." --Kirkus Reviews
About the authors
NNEKA MYERS is an illustrator and a character designer for TV animation based in Toronto. A graduate of Sheridan College’s animation program, she has illustrated Bedtime Bonnet; Who Did It First? 50 Politicians, Activists, and Entrepreneurs Who Revolutionized the World; and I Am Smart, I Am Blessed, I Can Do Anything!
Excerpt: Nature Lover #6 (by (author) Kelly Starling Lyons; illustrated by Nneka Myers)
Chapter One: Ready, Set, Pop Pop
“Whoa. What’s the rush, Jada?” Daddy asked.
I looked down and couldn’t believe I’d already gobbled my two supersize banana pancakes.
“They were delicious,” I said as I hurried to the sink. I blasted water on my flowered plate and stuck it in the dishwasher. My plate and silverware clattered as I slammed the door shut.
“Careful, Jada,” Mom said. “I know you’re excited, but you have time. Pop Pop won’t arrive for another twenty minutes.”
“Sorry,” I said, and zipped upstairs to grab the purple backpack I stocked last night.
Water, snacks, journal, and my four-in-one pen for notes. I was all set. Field trip day with Pop Pop! I didn’t want to miss a minute.
I raced down the stairs, stuck my paper bag lunch in my backpack, and stood by the door. I couldn’t believe Pop Pop was going to be one of our chaperones on the nature trail. I’d finally get to show him off to my friends—and show him what I knew about plants and bugs.
“You get to have all the fun,” my little brother, Jackson, said, scrunching his eyebrows as he stood beside me. “Why do you get to take Pop Pop on a field trip and I don’t?”
“Bet he’ll chaperone your next one,” I said. “Just ask him.”
I peeked out the window and squealed when I saw Betsy Brown Sugar, Pop Pop’s station wagon, pulling up. Right on time.
“He’s here!” I yelled to Mom and Dad. I had my hand on the doorknob, about to head out, when I heard Mom’s voice.
“Let him come in for a minute,” Mom said. “He might want something to eat.”
I sighed and shuffled my feet. Felt like forever before he finally came through the door.
“Hey there, Lady Bug,” he called when he saw me. His hug was like a cozy blanket.
Jax hung back, poking out his lip.
“Who’s this? I know that’s not my grandson looking all salty,” he said.
Jax cracked a smile and ran over to him. No one can stay mad when Pop Pop is around. He lifted Jax into his arms.
“I know you want to go, too,” he said. “We’re going to do something special when we get back. Just you and me.”
Jax looked at me with a satisfied grin. Now I was the one feeling left out.
“You want something to eat, Dad?” Mom asked, kissing his cheek.
“I had a little something something. I think we better get on the road. Right, Lady Bug?”
I smiled and nodded. That’s all he needed to say.
“Bye!” I yelled as I rushed out to his car. Time to get this party started.
“Let’s see,” Pop Pop said, pretending to think through some options. “What should we play on the way?”
We always kicked off our drives with the same two songs. Old-school and new-school versions of “Before I Let Go.” We started with his favorite, the original by Frankie Beverly and Maze, and ended with mine, by Beyoncé.
“So tell me about this nature walk,” he said.
“We’re going to learn about trees, animals, insects, and plants. There’s even a zip line we can ride at the end.”
“Now, that’s what’s up—way up,” he said, laughing. “You’ll be able to see the whole park. Nothing like looking at nature from overhead. You know I’ve zip-lined in the islands, in the mountains. You get a different view and appreciation for how wonderful the world is. I can’t wait to see you fly.”
Way up? I’ve been on zip lines before at indoor playgrounds. They weren’t that high. I hoped this one was like those. Pop Pop would be so impressed.
When we pulled up at school, teachers, kids, and chaperones were clustered on the sidewalk near the buses. Some adults sipped from coffee cups. Some kids laughed with friends. Others rubbed their eyes and yawned. I scanned the fourth-grade kids and teachers, searching for my class.
“There’s Simone and Lena! You have to meet them,” I said, grabbing Pop Pop’s hand.
“Hey, Jada,” Simone said when we walked up. “Like my look?” She twirled to give a full view of her gray boots dotted with rhinestones and blue camo shirt. Simone has the coolest style. Getting fancy for a trail walk was so her.
“Love it,” I said. “This is my Pop Pop. He’s coming on the trip with us. He grew up on a farm in West Virginia and knows all about nature. He used to take my mom and Uncle Rob camping. He taught them how to fish and garden. He even used to be a park ranger for a while.”
“I don’t know everything about nature,” he said, laughing. “But I do love the outdoors.”
“I do, too,” Lena said. “My mom and I walk at the park near our house every weekend. Sometimes we have a picnic. I wonder if we can sit in the grass and eat lunch today or if we’re sitting at tables.”
“Picnics are fun,” Simone said. Then, she wrinkled her nose. “But nature would be better without all the bugs. Ants, spiders, crickets—they give me the creeps. Butterflies are cool, but everything else has got to go.”
I peeked at Pop Pop. I knew he wasn’t feeling that. He says every living thing is special and has a purpose. He gives names to each one he sees. Sasha Squirrel. Rory Raccoon. Bakari Bee.
“I see we have some work to do,” he said to Simone. “We’ll try our best to open your mind. Right, Jada?”
“Yes, sir,” I said. I was ready to get started. Operation Show Simone That Nature Is Awesome was on.
We boarded the buses. The adults sat together. I plopped next to Lena, and Simone sat next to Gabi. Miles and RJ were in the row in front of us.
“Did you get the permission slip signed for the zip line?” I heard Simone ask Gabi. “I can’t wait. I heard you get to ride from tree to tree.”
Zip-lining through the trees? That must have been what Pop Pop was talking about when he said “way up.” Suddenly I got that stomach-dropping-to-your-feet feeling that hits when you’re about to hop on a super-steep roller coaster.
“You gonna try it, Jada?” Simone turned and asked me.
I was just about to shrug when I caught Pop Pop smiling at me. I bet seeing me on the zip line, soaring like a bird, would make him proud. I took a breath and pushed away my doubts.
“Sure,” I said, nodding.
Nothing was going to ruin my day with Pop Pop. Not even my nerves.